Republican State Senator Marty Knollenberg denies displaying racist behavior after a hearing last week in which he stated “we can’t make an African-American White” in response to low academic performance among African-American students.
The Michigan senator made his statement on Thursday during a Senate Education meeting where academic performances of students were being discussed by demographic. The findings discovered the lowest performing students were African-American.
Via The Huffington Post:
“You mention why these schools districts fail, and you mention economically disadvantaged and non-white population are contributors to that. And we can’t fix that. We can’t make an African-American white,” he said at the meeting. “That’s just, it is what it is.”
Knollenberg said he didn’t intend to offend anyone with his comments. He also suggested he wasn’t racist because he had a Black employee. His full statement can be heard below in a recording from the meeting:
Knollenberg believes his words were taken out of context and said he hopes to help students across the state advance their education. However, during his interview with WXYZ Detroit, he didn’t explain exactly what he meant.
WXYZ Detroit reports:
“If they knew me they would know that I am not racist at all,” said Knollenberg of anyone offended by his comments. “I can apologize to people who felt that way,” said Knollenberg. “My passion is for improving education and making sure every single child gets a good education. We should not have failing schools anywhere.”
The American Federation of Teachers released a statement slamming Knollenberg for his comments. He was defended by state school reform officer Natasha Baker and Karen McPhee, the senior advisor for education to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who said Knollenberg was referring to all students struggling across the state.
The entire Senate Committee meeting can be viewed here.
SOURCE: The Huffington Post | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform